Tuesday, November 04, 2008

October Reading Round Up

Soldier Boy: a young New Zealander writes home from the Boer War / complied by Kingsley Field
Very interesting.  Felt for the boy facing a rapid "growing up" process.

Dreamscapes /Tamara McKinley
From the blurb: Catriona Summers' debut in show business came early. Her father, the leader of a travelling music hall troupe that toured the small towns of the Outback, carried her on stage when she was barely minutes old in order to introduce her to her first audience. From such humble beginnings Catriona had grown up to emerge as a rare talent, her voice garnering her praise from the public and critics alike. But her journey from performing popular songs for a few pennies to becoming an acclaimed opera diva on the Sydney stage, has been fraught with hardship and tragedy. And now some old scandalous secrets from her teenage years are threatening her present, her family and all she has achieved.  Not a bad read but it did seem to drag in places.  I found myself skimming bits.  I think the author could have easily made a 2 series out of this story.

Windflowers / Tamara McKinley
From the blurb: Claire can't wait to escape the harshness of ranching life for college and a career in the big city. Sydney in the 1960s seems a lot more vibrant and exciting than Warratah Cattle Station. But then she is summoned home to face her indomitable mother.
Found the story a little bit predictable but an enjoyable read.

Hotel of secrets / T. J. Joyce
From the blurb: In the lush jungle of New Guinea, the local hotel is where the lives of eight unlikely people will intertwine to form a tangled web of intrigue and lies. Four young girls - Eilish: a member of the IRA and on the run from British authorities. Rhoda: Daddy’s little rich girl, forced to leave her life of privilege behind. Maureen: a prostitute whose best friend has just been murdered. Carol: a university student no longer able to bear the weight of her parents’ expectations. Four men - The police inspector: a man whose sexual depravity and lust for power make him a threat to everyone he sets his sights on. Duncan: manager of the hotel, haunted by memories, tortured by his secrets. Bumbu: an old Kanaka, bosboi of the hotel, and a man fiercely loyal to those whom he loves. Mick: the lonely Sydney detective sent in to solve the case when one man disappears. Is it simply a disappearance or could it be murder?  I enjoyed this one some of the time.  It's a bit raw in places, and some parts seemed a bit contrived, but overall it was an okay book.  Not sure I'd go out of my way to read more.

The limits of enchantment / Graham Joyce
Growing up in the 1960s under the tutelage of unconventional midwife Mammy, Fern Cullen finds the people of their small English village rallying against them when a patient dies, forcing Fern to turn to former adversaries for support.  I found this one very engaging, and slightly weird but good.

The year we seized the day: a true story of friendship, fury and sore feet / Elizabeth Best and Colin
A compelling and inspirational account of how two very different Australian writers tackle their demons walking a medieval pilgrimage across Spain.

The ripening sun/ Patricia Atkinson
In 1990, Patricia Atkinson and her husband moved to the Dordogne, planning to earn their living as financial consultants, while an employee tended their small vineyard. Then the stock-market crashed, her husband returned to England and she was left to salvage their life savings from the vineyards.  Really enjoyed this book though it is not without it's sad bits.  I never realised how much work a vintner has to do.

The last concubine / Lesley Downer
Sachi, a beautiful 15 year old is "discovered" in a remote mountain village, taken from her adoptive parents and eventually becomes the Shogun's concubine.  Her life changes from a simple peasant life to one of complexities, intrigue and luxury.  But Japan is changing - the balance of power between the emperor and the shogun is tipping, Western foreigners have come eager to make Japan part of their empire too.  There are opportunities for Sachi to either choose or reject to make her life change once again.  I enjoyed the story and characters in this book.  Well worth reading.

As for scrapbooking LOs this month - I think I've done about 2-3!  So slack..
But I did do some sewing so that should could towards my craft quotient!  Not that it matters of course since I'm the only one who is counting.
;-)  Heh heh. 
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  1. okay I must admit out of that wee selection "The Last Concubine" is one I would read. So I will add that to my list of "to reads". Thanks Penny, I look forward to your reading roundups. I am 3/4 way through Mindset. I have found myself nodding a lot in this.

  2. gosh I'm always amazed at how many books you read in a month.

  3. OK taking your list with me to the library in the weekend...

  4. Thanks Penny for that - I will try to get some of them to read. Scrapping, seing, knitting - doesn't matter what - it's all good for one